The President

Next week my father will be at an event where President Trump is giving a speech. One of my father’s oldest and closest friends is very politically connected and he (probably rather easily) has free tickets. I’m excited for my father to attend.

But, I also feel…angry.

Part of me really wants to respect the fact that my father and his buddies care about our world and country so much (and political rallies are honestly a blast), while also rejecting Trump as the true leader of our country. It’s drilled into our minds every day by the media to totally abhor him and his administration and if there’s anything completely truthful about their stories there are some very legitimate reasons to despise him as a leader or even condemn him personally. But, the thing is, part of me also respects President Donald Trump (Sr.). …There…I said it. I feel very conflicted about him as a President.

You know what’s funny though? People often talk about how he’s racist and I won’t truly discuss that because it’s way too complex a topic for just this post, but…I have it on good authority that he actually is somewhat popular in some minority communities. *shrug* Maybe he’s not openly popular but, according to someone who knows, he actually is secretly admired by more minorities than is reported by most media sources. He won for a reason.

You know who really hates him (the most), ironically? Upper-middle class and middle class (American) white people. Their hatred is real.

…Actually though, I also feel conflicted about my culture in general right now. It’s meaningless drivel at best, in my opinion, to go on about things while resting (to exhaustion) on the premise that Western Civilization is basically entirely evil and that that’s the only honorable thing to presume. It’s also way beyond dishonest and patronizing. It’s actually kind of…racist.

The thing is…no one culture is truly good and no one culture is pure evil. People aren’t generally that simple on an individual level, thank goodness. In a group people are also profoundly complex. Right?

It’s sick and “gross” (that is such a popular word right now to describe something pejoratively and it’s getting annoying to see everywhere but I had to use it once too) to think that we’re doing anyone a favor by making things white = evil (more evil than other races I guess). Or even privilege = evil (the scum rises to the top?). *rolling eyes* Again, we’re all just human.

Black can be evil too. (Yes!! Oh my word! I did really just write that!!!) And did you know that Hispanics are human enough (and smart enough) to be bad sometimes too. Ha! So are Asians. We can all be evil. It’s not just a white thing to be so darn bad (picture the very white James Bond as a villain) that it’s…almost good? *rolling eyes* We’re both giving ourselves way too much credit and not enough, in some ways, as white folks these days. We are unique (every race is) and we have committed some real atrocities (not to disappoint those who seem to get an adrenaline rush from “learning” more about our evil-superhero mystique) but…we’re not that unique.

So…there are good and bad people everywhere. There are good and bad people who are privileged. There are good and bad people who are not currently as privileged. It’s actually sort of…dull…in a lovely way? Maybe? Hmm? Also, it minimizes really heinous acts of racism and classism that actually exist to over-label every damn thing as “privilege” of some sort. It makes the truth of evil too “of the moment” and therefore vulnerable to the next social trend.

…But we all want drama right now, it seems. More than truth and self-respect or quiet and depth we want something fascinating to watch. And, I do know one thing, my father will see a very entertaining President next week. He’s not dull. *laughing*

Or wait! No… He’s not. He is dull? And too skinny? Or wait no… He’s beautiful. Or? He’s an orange, fat madman. He’s a facist but not…like…he’s too populist but also too socialist… Or wait!! No. He’s a capitalist! Or wait no… He’s just gross. Soo gross. So lacking in self-awareness. Such a gross example of white privilege and lack of self-awareness.

(I’ve *literally* heard all of these things about him lately. …Of course, it was very 2017/18 of me to say what I just said but also still a real sentence and what I meant to say.)

*rolling eyes*

Poor Bernie. Poor Joe… Poor Elizabeth.

*Staring into the wildly overwhelming future*

Before… (Personal Musing Part II)

So…if reincarnation is what happens to some people (hypothetically speaking because I don’t know of course and I actually am a Christian) who was I? Who were you?

I’m pretty certain my parents owned an apartment in Manhattan near a few department stores, or at least I did. It had been in the family? And, I think those stores died or went into their own decline during the overall decline of NYC in the latter half of the Twentieth Century. I think the decline of NYC affected me a lot.

I think I visited Great Britain at least once and did a lot of looking around… I might not have lived there though (as I had previously thought). But I know I loved it or was at least intrigued by it and I still am.

I think I had a similar look in some ways to what I have now but my eyes were blue (or lighter than they are now). I also think I had a somewhat different facial profile. When I pose for photos I suspect I’m posing with that face in mind (subconsciously) and not this one. *laughing* I bet I was more photogenic before than I am now too… Not prettier. But more photogenic. (Those are different things.)

My parents were both good people, I think. I think they were both very inquisitive people too. My father may have been a bit cold at times though.

I think I drank absinthe back then. I rode on the Queen Mary; I have a creepy “memory” of being in the infamous swimming pool at night on the ocean. I think I liked driving cars. Fast! I think I was known for being a “good female driver”. But I bet I was also a pushy driver at times.

I think I may have met F. Scott Fitzgerald once and had dinner and drinks with him (for professional reasons – not as in prostitution – but as in he held professional power and I was meeting with him for some reason). Yes. Go ahead and laugh. Ha! Sadly however, he may have scared me that evening… I think he seemed…”witchy” (as in almost too knowing and intuitive), condescending and sneering. I suspect I met him in his decline. IF I met him at all, of course. …When I first read Fitzgerald in high school (in this lifetime) I remember looking at the back of one of his novels and feeling very uneasy and slightly overwhelmed. I think he “got fresh with me”. Ha! And, the image of a…cantankerous, slightly inebriated “older man” in a tweed suit who was mad that I wasn’t instantly smitten by him for being so…brilliant and sophisticated (?)…may have been in my mind. He also seemed pitiful in a way that garnered genuine sympathy. Again, go ahead and laugh or roll your eyes. It doesn’t change what I know or have experienced though. *shrug* Now I know he was indeed brilliant…and my opinion of him has changed overall (from my first gut feeling when I read him in high school or knew of him “before”). Perhaps, I had heard of him back then before meeting him that once (probably read him too), but I thought he was “out of style” and more my parent’s sort of writer whereas now I see his value beyond time. *shrug*

I have other “memories” too. Ones I cannot or will not discuss here.

Maybe I just have an active imagination though. Maybe I’m just tapping into someone else’s “memories”… *shrug* They do feel personal though.

I know I loved wearing hats and gloves and jewelry and all of that. A lot. Although, I can’t think of which specific perfume I wore. I bet it might have been something with a white flower emphasis? Not No. 22 though… Maybe I didn’t wear a lot of fragrance, even if I was well aware of perfumes.

I think my current husband and I were somehow connected. We may find each other comforting now for lots of good reasons…

I suspect I was better at math. I also was a bit more temperamental? …I don’t think I was perceived as being as feminine (even though I was as feminine) as I seemingly am now, although I was still mostly conventionally pretty I think. Just in a somewhat different way. Maybe it was less delicate and more a crisp and fresh sort of pretty?

That’s a lot. Thanks for reading all of it if you did.

Ouchy (Personal Musing)

Every once and a while I have a tendency to not “put my foot in my mouth” but rather to kick a hornets nest with full force. It’s something I’m still trying to get a handle on in my 30’s.

Just recently, earlier this year, I was in a conversation with an aunt and it happened. We were discussing the issues in the marriage of one of my cousins. His father is a professional counselor and has been for decades. My uncle even started his own counseling center many years ago and it’s still successful. My uncle is a perceptive man. And, I began to wonder aloud passionately (although not angrily according to my actual feelings at the time and my husband’s account of them) why my uncle hadn’t warned my cousin and his then fiancée against getting married if he saw any problems in the relationship… Well… That was apparently a deeply loaded question. My aunt demurred and said that she had become uncomfortable in the conversation. She claimed that she couldn’t divulge anything that private about that family and that she was even starting to feel personally attacked.

I was shocked and hurt and genuinely confused. Obviously, I had no intention to attack my aunt and I was unclear on how it even became an attack on her from her perspective. And, I was deeply embarrassed that it suddenly seemed like I was engaging in petty gossip. I had thought it was a more kind and high-minded discussion than that, but of course she didn’t see it that way anymore.

I still don’t know what entirely happened in that moment. My aunt felt I was completely guilty, and yet, in all honesty, I’m not sure what even was really going on. BUT I do know that I’ve been in that sort of situation a few times in my life and every time I’ve walked away puzzled, scared and aware that I need to be more aware somehow.

I don’t lack self-awareness (what that term means). I know myself very well. What I do sometimes struggle with is an awareness of how others are perceiving me. I don’t have any disabilities, disorders or mental illnesses thankfully (like autism) that contribute to it but I don’t always “get” what others are going to take from something I do or say at very weird moments. It’s not a lack of empathy either… I’m intuitive and I’ve been told my whole life I’m perceptive about other people’s feelings, place in the world, personality, motives, etc. It’s more that I just tend to not know how others will see me and I upset people unintentionally… At times, very rarely, I’ve used this ability to make a point as I’ve become keenly aware of my tendency over the years and I’ve tried to find a way to use it instead of always being hurt by it. But, every once and day I surprise myself by “doing it again”. Sometimes I’ve been called “selfish”. Other times “prissy”. Once “controlling”. …My aunt thought I was “too intense”. Admittedly, I can be prissy and intense (for better or worse) but the other labels don’t really suit me all that well.

*sigh*

I also tend to think this lack of awareness is tied to my lack of concern for social position (as compared to other people). I know this about myself well enough to some degree but…not well enough. Where my aunt may have been trying to protect herself and her nephew (my cousin) from what seemed to be an onslaught of judgment and criticism on my part (after analyzing it in hindsight) I was simply very bothered by what I saw as the illogical tragedy of the situation. It felt scary to me to think that a gifted counselor might not be able to prevent relationship woes in his own family. But, that’s very naive and I should have realized that the moment I felt a twinge of sadness in that direction…

I can also get lost in things that I feel deeply about. The time I was called selfish was by a professor who I was trying to have as an advisor for a private study about the history of Poland. He couldn’t believe I wanted to take his time away from things that he believed were “more important” and he likely thought I was doing the project for self-aggrandizing reasons. Truthfully, it was just that I had been to the local Polish Film Festival twice because I was friends with a woman from former communist Poland and had started to find the country extremely fascinating.

“Poland?” He asked incredulously. “Not France or Germany or Russia!?” He was very upset. “Nobody studies that country unless they’re at a major research university. And historians don’t study countries anymore. They study cultures. You said, you ‘know something about history’ but you clearly don’t based on what you’ve said.” I still beg to differ with him on that last point. BUT, regardless, I don’t think he realized many things about the situation in that conversation (another professor later told me that) and he had me cast as an entirely different person than I am.

I’m a bit…eccentric…at times? Unaware not of social conventions but more than somewhat unaware of the cares and concerns most people have about…what’s cool? What’s fashionable? What’s going to be perceived as wealthy or glamorous or desirable. Desirable in every meaning of that word (not just sexually). It’s not that dense. I do understand social cues about class in regard to other people, just not myself as much. And I just get lost… Lost in what one roommate said was, “my own little world”. I do live in reality though. Ha! I just…I was raised by very subversively counter-culture people, I’m different from almost everyone in my family, I experienced trauma at a young age, and I was never able to fit in with my peers growing up (for a host of complex reasons). Namely, we weren’t financially affluent in a very “bougie” neighborhood (although we were in other ways due to background and that further complicated things) and my peers looked down on me because of it, and my parents were strict about certain things for religious reasons. They weren’t fundamentalists but they were very much Evangelical Christians (not ignorantly so though) and I was an obedient child. And I was an only child. But, anyway, I was…isolated a bit. And while I developed a very rich and resilient inner-world, I never learned to care that much about certain “outside” things and in fact did the opposite. It goes so far that if reincarnation is true I likely moved far back into my inner being and in a way I’ve almost lived partly in my past life while being in this one. Ha! And maybe my views of everything as an adult are more based on that experience than this one at this point. Maybe those parents from a century past have informed me and shaped me still… *laughing* Who knows? Who knows how such things work really other than God. *smile* I hope that if reincarnation doesn’t exist that my Christian God (Who I worship) will understand my wondering…

Anyway.

Henry James

I said I’d write about something pleasant.

Hi. *waves*

How about this: I’m currently reading my hardcover 1945 edition of collected short stories by Henry James. I don’t have much to say about it though… But I’m excited to start.

I will say that I miss my old apartment tonight. It had very high ceilings and the view of downtown was so charming from my bedroom window. Also, I felt so cozy in bed at night reading. *sigh* Good memories.

What’s on your reading list this fall?

Class Awareness

Today Caroline Calloway- *pause*

CC. Hmm… Did you know that she legally changed her name at age 17 using her middle name as her last name? It really is a pretty alliteration…

Anyway! *deep breath* She discussed class and privilege today on Instagram (Sunday). And, now I’m thinking about it too…

Months ago (before I altered my blog) I wrote a very long, detailed post with references to (reputable) online journal articles and used lots of numbers to create broad and complex definitions of each social class in the US. My father was going to be an anthropology professor but decided against it. He completed his bachelors degree in sociology and anthropology though and was a favorite of his professors. So, I grew up hearing a lot about social classes and the history of class. It intrigued him. He was also a hippie (and socialist) until the early 1970’s…

Here’s my super abbreviated take on class (I was also a history major/minor and political science major in college for five years): There are three classes. The top of the heap, which is the upper-class, can be divided into two groups. The middle of the heap can be divided into three groups. AND the lower class is also basically two groups.

The upper: Financially there’s the group who have a net worth of less than $100 million and there’s the group who have a net worth of over $100 million. Now, socially describing social class…is extremely complicated. I won’t even bother touching on that facet right now because as I’m writing this it’s very late and I could write a book about it. Another time. But, getting back to the money let’s just say that if you’re net worth isn’t at least 2.4 million US Dollars you’re most likely from an upper-class family and you’re “unique”, “an impoverished aristocrat”, you’re at least fairly young/sort of youngish (under 50 for certain) or…you’re just simply not in the upper-class. …Also, it’s flipping hard to truly get into the upper-class (based on the social aspects). Keep that in mind when reading the previous thoughts on this class.

The middle is not easy to quickly describe. I can say that if you’re not earning over $100,000.00 a year you’re not in the upper-middle class for certain unless you’re younger than 30 (or you were born into a firmly upper-middle class family and you’re younger than 40) or you’re single and younger than 50 and earning above $65,000.00 or you’re older than 50 and have a decent retirement savings and you’re earning over $65,000.00. That being said, the middle-middle is somewhat nebulous… At what point does one climb from the lower-middle to the middle-middle? Perhaps if you’re making over $30,000.00 a year and you’re single you’ve entered the middle-middle class unless you’re old and without a retirement? The lower-middle is anything before actual poverty…. I’d include the working-class in with the lower-middle. But regardless, there’s some measure of safety and stability to your life provided by your resources if you’re in the middle-class. At least, there should be.

Poverty. The lower-class is poor. But there are two kinds of poor. There’s “how-in-the-world-are-you-alive?” Poor and “I’m-going to-make-it-somehow” Poor. The first tends to be chronically homeless or deeply impoverished. The second might be temporarily homeless or be working towards finding stability in some way but they’re just not quite in the working-class yet. They just need that bit of assistance from someone for a while and they’ll eventually push themselves into the lower-middle class. The border between poverty and the lower-middle class in the US is partly where the government stops offering aid, but placing government financial assistance in a class context is complicated by people who fit in with the middle class in every other way but don’t have nearly adequate financial resources… There are plenty of very well educated people (numerous degrees) who can’t buy groceries, unfortunately, and it’s been like that for far too long in the US.

Anyway! The Pew Research Center made a calculator. Use it if you’re curious to see where you might be. And I say “might be” because I find class more nuanced than just a salary and location (as I’ve said), but I think it’s a good enough place to start…

I’ll post something more pleasant and agreeable tomorrow. *smile*

Les Classiques Du Palais

I bought tea from Saks a while ago and I’ve been waiting to review it.

It came with this lovely little booklet describing each tea and how to properly brew them. Very nice.

Honestly the Rooibos is sublime. It’s the best Rooibos I’ve ever had. The Earl Grey is fine. The green teas are lovely… Very refined and delicate. AND the Darjeeling is also surprisingly good.

I think I’ll order the Darjeeling and the Rooibos (of course). They really were that delicious. Have you tried these teas? For a tea you order from a department store they’re really good.

Alphas

After reading through Caroline Calloway’s Instagram account today I’m baffled. What in the world is an “alpha female”?!

It seems Calloway thinks being an “alpha female” is essentially employing overwrought Machiavellian tricks constantly in order to gain “money, power and fame”. Manipulation? Deception of the public and eventually everyone close to you (you can’t really compartmentalize actual reality)? Totally normal for an “alpha (female)”. Life’s meaning is apparently almost entirely materialistic and all the so-called high-minded virtues are fluffy nothings? And what’s almost nauseating is her insistence over and over that despite making what she calls “smart alpha moves” someone can be “good”.

No. No Caroline. Natalie as you describe her (one of the alphas in her narrative today) is not a good person. Are you?? (She’s obviously fascinating regardless.).

Also, you can’t truly “fake it till you make it”. That’s not a real winning strategy, despite what Calloway seems to insist and believe about herself. AND no. If she’s struggling to pay her rent (that’s under $3,000 a month) she’s not “rich” yet. Even with the media firestorm and her upper-class education she’s not yet part of the upper-class. That’s not how class quite works… She’s upper-middle class unless her father left her millions. She’s upper-middle class unless her family background dictates otherwise (Does it?? I once thought so.). She’s upper-middle class unless she either earns those millions or marries them. It doesn’t come from fame. People have been famous for swallowing goldfish. Period.

*sigh*

But truly, what even is an “alpha female”?! It sounds like a term used by someone who thinks $5,000.00 for one article in The Cut is a big deal. Please! That’s more like a really nice Christmas gift in a truly wealthy family for a 16 year old with generous parents…

Anyway, in the patriarchy (that Calloway often refers to) there are very few true alpha females the way there are “alpha males”. In the patriarchy “alpha females” if they exist are most often killed sooner than later or have relatively short, sad lives. Or they’re lesbians or bi. It’s exceedingly difficult and rare to be alive and be an “alpha female” and be cis and straight (although it happens). Or if they are straight alphas they’re often not obviously alphas (ie they aren’t just women who act like morally messy straight men pretending to be alphas)… The archetypes that exist in the world right now still, still don’t truly and fully allow for cis straight women (especially white women) to be genuineness alphas… And if you try to be truly alpha as a woman (strong and brave and not weak, narcissistic and pathologically self-obsessed) you’ll likely find yourself torn apart at some point by someone who finds you threatening or you’ll be very lonely in some way…not widely admired and praised. Sadly, feminism didn’t alter things quite that much.

Alpha females (when they exist) are the little girls who’s father died young and so they grew up and sent themselves to college; graduated top of their class and then worked and paid for their siblings to finish college too. Alpha females are the brave women who flew bombing missions in Iraq and then came back and worked as pilots everyday quietly in a male-dominated industry. They are not conniving, privileged teenagers who float about from sunny Sicilian coastlines to New York City cafés carrying Staud bags (or whatever); trying to figure out how to “be rich and cool” like their neighbor David Mamet only to find themselves making relatively paltry sums of money for a temporary bit of public attention every year or two alongside a middle-class wage in their late 20’s.

I think a very specific group of people who believe in and reference things like “alphas” (and misuse the term as far as I’m concerned) endearingly or with seriousness must imagine themselves permanently living on the set of the 1980’s sitcom “Dynasty” or they have waaay too high an opinion of things like fame. Real power and real success and real money are terrifying on a certain level. People are vicious indeed. Not just the occasional alphas… And most often non-alphas are the most vicious. The most hot-headed. It takes actual courage and “alpha” to be calm enough, altruistic and therefore genuinely good enough not to destroy yourself and everything in your path when you have real power in your grasp. But I guess such obvious truths aren’t obvious to a lot of people anymore.

No. My family friend Robert (who I wrote about earlier) was a true alpha male. He was deeply heroic. Imprisoned and tortured; losing his father to a Marxist revolution before 18 then escaping from a prison, fleeing secretly to America, and earning his doctorate before going back home and starting a mission (He lived in Ethiopia but visited the US for a month or two every year at most to raise support from his American friends for his mission; almost every missionary or aid worker to an impoverished country has financial aid from a wealthier country in some form. That’s just how it works. This is also why he died there in Ethiopia from malnutrition – he only took what he needed and sacrificed beyond when it came to himself.). Then, of course, he died alongside his people (for heroic reasons) who loved him, respected him and depended on him. People admired him because he was good and because people want to actually live…if they’re sane. And, again, in order to live you have to keep your wits about you and live well with other humans. Leaders grow healthy, sustainable, stable and humanitarian environments. Alphas are leaders or alphas don’t exist. He was an alpha. And I know from what my parents have told me, as his friends for decades, that he wasn’t Machiavellian although he was shrewd and smart. Smart does not equal evil (or conniving).

…I’m reminded of something one of my friends from high school said to me at a Starbucks in 2009. Actually, we almost dated back in high school. He was finishing his doctorate then, in 2009, and now he’s a professor at a fairly prestigious university in New York City (ironically given Calloway’s Instagram pieces today). But he had been such a good guy in high school, and he was and still is an actual friend/acquaintance of mine, which is something males and females don’t often do well (especially over time). Still, “I’m not a good person.” he told me with a laugh that day over coffee at Starbucks. “Oh! Yes you are!” I protested out of loyalty to the kind and tough young man I once knew. “No!” he insisted finally. “I’m not.” And, I couldn’t argue with him anymore. He was positively sure he wasn’t… Maybe, it’s a testament to his previous goodness that he knew he was no longer good. Or maybe he decided that being good wasn’t “alpha” enough. We never did date in high school after all and perhaps he had decided to “better himself” by becoming more of the “asshole-alpha male” who gets…chicks? The male counter-part to Caroline’s narrative of her “alpha female”. ? Oh dear… We never we did date though.

Complex leaders (alphas with issues) are Machiavellian sometimes. Sure. But…as my grandmother used to often love say, quoting Lincoln, “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Betas (or otherwise) who call themselves Alphas should be warned. Maybe…maybe…they’re just not good people and should stop labeling themselves otherwise? (I hope not for Calloway.) Maybe they’re just unfortunately ordinary in being (the stereotypical) spoiled, starstruck upper-middle class young ladies-who-lunch who decide to “go to Hollywood” and be Marilyn or Ava “when they grow up”; an iconic golden girl frolicking at the alter of Dionysus. “I know I could be famous. They just need to see my picture! Wait until they hear my voice!” At least, that’s what her description (not necessarily her actual deeds) reads as to me… Time will tell. Time will tell if Calloway and Natalie are actual alpha females.

And yes, I still find Calloway brilliantly intriguing. She is brilliant. Regardless of her “domination” or lack of it…she just is. (Sorry Natalie?)

Just This…

One of the most insightful pieces written about life at the moment (and about a fascinating figure of the 21st Century) I’ve read in a long time…is right here . My only complaint is that Flanagan might fail to realize how difficult a proper response to the obsessive, sometimes violent and self-righteous “toads” is… They are almost impossible to reason with. I’ve tried. For years. Everything positive one says goes over their heads almost entirely or they twist it away from its original intent and towards something pathetic or sinister (on purpose for some stubborn reason?). They also tend to read negativity or outright evil into situations that exists only in their imaginations (as she sort of writes about) and that further fuels their hatred… Ignore them entirely? That makes them angry too and more determined to play “the long game”… *shrug* What would she suggest? I genuinely wish I knew. It’s beyond exhausting to put up with (and part of why my public account no longer exists).

Anyway. Happy Friday, lovelies.

Awkwardly So…

You know, it’s my epiphany tonight that I’m an outlier. Only once in my life has it been said that I lack self-awareness and that was within the past year (although, as a caveat, that is a trendy insult these days *shrug*)… But, I think in a certain way I have lacked self-awareness in recent years.

How so? Well, I care about my well-being and the well-being of those I love, but I’m not terribly attached to status (I’m not competitive either). I love beauty but that’s different… And because of my love of beauty I do have collections… But, I’m really, really, really not one to worry about my status by nature. Really. Some other people I’m SURE think otherwise. And many of those other people are either wildly mistaken about a great many things in regard to me (likely always have been) or they’ve lied to themselves about me for some personal reason only they probably fully understand.

And that sounds good doesn’t it? I mean, it sounds good that I’m not attached to possessions (beyond for necessity and of course I believe in property rights) or status. Right? But the problem is I truly, truly, truly don’t “get” feeling differently. And beyond that, I sometimes forget that I’m an anomaly in that way. Most people do care about such things. I’m not sure why I don’t. I just don’t? *shrug*

So…when I get angry I get angry on principle (as in that’s actually why I’m angry not as in this is my excuse for secretly being what I say I’m not). I get upset when people lie, or try to be controlling, or try to “put you in your place” or “win” at the expense of the greater good or absolute truth. And I’ve been known to explain my social position to great length for the purpose of either trying to piss off people who I found obnoxious and/or deeply hurtful or to bring a reality check to those who seemed to be high on their own self-deception.

*clearing throat and smiling*

But…I do wonder if I’m too tough on people sometimes. Perhaps…I need to realize how unpleasant it must be to care about things I don’t care about that much. And that sounds condescending but it’s not meant to be. I just mean…if I did care about how people perceived me what would that look like and I should try to think of things from that perspective. Like, I do care in a way on principle because other people care and so I have to be aware of it and care to form relationships and etc., and it’s annoying and hurtful when people misunderstand me or try to insult me or etc. (obviously) but…I don’t care as much about being perceived as rich or beautiful or successful as most people.

If I did I would have done better in college (health issues notwithstanding). I would look different now and have looked different in the past. Very different. My whole life would totally be different. I’m sure I’d be nicer too. Not kinder or more caring or more honest. Certainly not more honest… But I’d be “nicer”. Ha! I’m sure people would like me more. And I mean truly like me not just…pretend to like me or…”like” me out of obligation of being a decent person who respects other decent people.

*sigh*

So…*shrug* I just wonder. *shaking head* If you’re reading this blog and you care about the fact that I “have more than you” or you’re hoping I “have less” or are relieved I “have less” (ha!)…umm…can you step away from that? Have you tried? If it’s too complicated to do, please know that I’m sorry if I’ve made it more painful to let go of. I meant to do the opposite but I doubt that worked… It’s just, as I’ve said for years (on this blog): If I don’t care and I “have more than you” why do you care? Oh wait…because you want more than others? Right. Darn. *laughing* But really though, would you be that much happier if you did? Relived maybe? I can see relived… But truly happy? I highly doubt it. *sigh* You’d just be mad at someone else (other than me) who “has more”. And we’d all still be the same people…just with different stuff. *shrug* That’s the rub.

Robert

My parents had a friend from Ethiopia who introduced them to each other. He was a close family friend. His name was something else, but for privacy reasons I’ll call my parent’s friend Robert.

When I said that I’ve not had a ton of experience with people from a different background than my own (in a previous post) I meant that in a very nuanced way. It’s not just that I haven’t known anyone ever from different backgrounds… Instead I was trying to summarize my main experiences in life and make generalizations in order to make a broader point ( This article describes my concept exceedingly better than I did, but you have to read it with honesty and not in a defensive mode of thinking to “get it”.). I’ve been acquainted with people from many different backgrounds. Although, Robert has been one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met…

Robert was from a war torn African country and he was not a wealthy man… But actually, Robert’s family while he was young was very wealthy and when the former government of Ethiopia was overthrown in the early 1970’s a lot of his family was murdered as part of that, including his father. Miraculously he escaped and then made it to the US where he went to college. He then returned to Ethiopia afterwards to start an orphanage and mission.

Eventually, in his middle-age he died there in Ethiopia from malnutrition because he was a genuinely heroic and sacrificial man who always put others first. He gave his all. When he would visit the US to gain financial support for his mission from his American friends he’d purposefully gain weight at their dinners so he could return to his country and not eat as well if necessary. Once he was eating a salad at our table (where I grew up) and he added an extra amount of dressing with a laugh and a grin and we all knew why (although it worried us). He was a truly amazing man. Not much scared him. He was also brilliant and impeccably considerate. I was truly grieved when he died. I’m positive many people were.

No…what I meant was that…we all live in a bubble. Online we interact with all sorts of people but in our real, tangible, everyday lives divisions still exist. And they always have. And they’re there for profoundly complex reasons…

The thing is…it’s wonderful to meet people from different backgrounds than your own online. BUT, I think the same care and thoughtfulness we used to use to relate to people different than us in person should be used online. At least those of us who weren’t arrogant, delusional or conceited. And obviously, some people are not kind people and were never thoughtful to begin with. But, I think for those of us who tried to be truly understanding and/or open-minded we need to remember that we’re dealing with real people behind screens. Some of them are different than us. And, most importantly, we can’t change everything but we can control how we treat each other…